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Neuroscience. 2007 Nov 30;150(1):1-7. Epub 2007 Sep 26.

Human fear-related motor neurocircuitry.

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Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Box 140, 1300 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA. <>


Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and an experimental paradigm of instructed fear, we observed a striking pattern of decreased activity in primary motor cortex with increased activity in dorsal basal ganglia during anticipation of aversive electrodermal stimulation in 42 healthy participants. We interpret this pattern of activity in motor neurocircuitry in response to cognitively-induced fear in relation to evolutionarily-conserved responses to threat that may be relevant to understanding normal and pathological fear in humans.

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